New pedestrian bridge opens at Tahquamenon Falls State Park

The 143-foot bridge is officially open to the public, connecting the mainland to Lower Falls Island
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 3:48 PM EDT
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WHITEFISH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Along M-123 in Whitefish Township is Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

For years, it has been known for its misty waters and scenic balconies. Now, it has a new feature that just opened during Memorial Day Weekend: an aluminum pedestrian bridge.

“We started the design on this project back in 2018, and it has come to fruition in May 2022,” said Park Manager Kevin Dennis.

The 143-foot bridge was the main component of the Lower Falls Island & Visitor Services Improvements Project. Before, the only way people could get to the island was by rowing or kayaking. The walkway now connects the island to the park’s mainland, which Dennis said will improve everyone’s experience.

“The main benefit is now the island that the Lower Falls cascades around is now universally accessible to all. It’ll make it easier for park staff in emergency situations,” Dennis said.

The $250,000 bridge was installed in September 2021 with its four sections coming all the way from Florida. It took a helicopter to bring all four sections down. The contractors had scaffolding and sandbags on the water so it would be easier for them to bolt all four parts together.

Dennis also said the bridge is well hidden from the start of the footpath to avoid blocking views of the falls. On the other hand, he said the bridge gives people angles of the running water they had not seen before.

“The view looking up river is stunning and one, if you ever visited before, you’ve never seen before. Looking both ways, really,” said Dennis.

After walking across the bridge himself, Dennis said a good number of people could be on it at once.

“It can handle 4,000 pounds, which is the maximum weight capacity of the bridge,” Dennis said. “So, we’re really excited to have it open in place for the visitors of Tahquamenon Falls State Park.”

Railings will be added by the River Trail entrance. In the meantime, a new park store & boat rental building, and a new public restroom are scheduled to be complete by December.

Click here to watch part two and part three of this series.

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